Finding Their Voices | It’s never to late to take up writing, where age may actually create some advantages.
Bob Jacobs is promoted to Western Regional Account Manager of Alternative Markets for Ilford Imaging.
This newly created position was designed to help Ilford take advantage of opportunities in the rapidly expanding digital imaging market. Jacobs' responsibilities include selling Ilford's PRINTASIA line of desktop inkjet paper into the mass consumer market west of the Mississippi River. Prior to this, Jacobs was District Sales Manager for the Photo Division in Northern California.
After the Layoff Congrats on Your New Worse Job
The Fiscal Times - by Blaire Brody
Even though jobs are looking up this year, it's still not a buyers' market. As thousands of formerly unemployed workers...
Robert Jacobs, 59, from photo supplies salesman to self-employed business consultant
“Is my new job better or worse? I guess the true answer would have to be it’s both,” says Jacobs, a former buyer for a photo supplies manufacturer, working with large clients such as Costco, Sam’s Club and Best Buy. He was laid off in November 2008 after 22 years with the company. After job searching for eight months, he was contacted by a former competitor to do some retail business consulting and he’s been working to increase his client base for his own consulting business ever since...
From Corporate Sales Success to Self-Employment Education
Robert A. Jacobs & Associates (Robertjacobsassociates.com) is a marketing and sales consulting firm specializing in presenting new and relatively unknown consumer product goods (CPG) to new markets. For example, we’re currently in the process of negotiating a deal with a warehouse club retailer to offer a line of digital camera accessories that they’ve never carried before. We’re also working on a project to introduce an excellent line of book lights to the photo specialty market, a new concept for camera store retailers as well as for the supplier....
The business was started in 2009 with $6,500 of my own money. Why? Well as it turned out after 22 years with a company which had benefitted significantly from my success as a sales manager, I was laid off in 2008. And since as we all know that was not the ideal time period for job hunting, after sending out about 50 or so resumes and receiving no sales job offers whatsoever I decided to take advantage of the extensive mass market retail contacts I had built up over the prior 10 years and make a go of it on my own.
Our first client was a major manufacturer of inkjet consumable supplies as well as a former competitor. One of their goals was to determine how to sell their high-quality inkjet photo paper to the mass consumer market in the USA. And fortunately for me their sales team was not only spread pretty thin at the time but was also concentrating primarily on the graphics market. This provided an ideal opportunity to test a “new” retail sales consultant concept that had been suggested by one of their trusted advisors who also happened to be a former business associate of mine. We set up a meeting during which I presented a plan to serve as a business development manager assigned to help them reach their retail market penetration goal and towards mid-year of 2009 we worked out a “monthly retainer plus commission” deal and got to work. Our strategy has proven successful in growing this business both in the USA as well as in Central America and this business has been essential in providing the foundation that helped keep our business operating long enough to bring on additional clients.
Although prior to starting my own venture I had been successful selling photo supplies to mass market retailers such as Costco, Sam’s Club, Hobby Lobby, CompUSA and Best Buy, I quickly discovered that in order to be successful without the support of a large corporation behind me (and as a result without an expense account) I needed to improve my selling skills in order to close more deals in less time. We also needed to take advantage of our independent status by extending our CPG lines beyond photo supplies since as, “unrestrained retailer influence consultants”, we can now source almost any consumer product from anywhere in the world given sufficient time and existing or potential demand.
The necessity for management as well as employees to improve marketing skills, i.e., sales, product development expertise, awareness and understanding of the most recent promotional vehicles, pricing strategies for various market segments, etc., is ongoing for any new small business to be successful. I now read about two books per month and when driving I’m an avid listener of personal development CDs in order to continually improve my marketing and selling skills. I’m also constantly on the look out for new ways to market our services and connect with potential new sources of business which is why one of our key goals for this year is to become more familiar with and utilize social media opportunities such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr and Twitter, not only to help spread our own influence but also to advise our clients how to take advantage of these relatively new promotional concepts. Our first step has been to begin posting periodic updates on LinkedIn. Next I plan to start a blog about selling to mass market retailers although I will also emphasize that the concepts shared can be applied to retailers in general whether of the mass market or the “not so much mass market” variety. It will be very interesting to look back a year from now and see exactly what progress we’ve made and how effective these new concepts will have been.
Slowly but surely the tremendous amount of new knowledge I’m learning combined with my 30+ years of sales and product marketing experience is beginning to pay dividends. For example we’re working on a new product development opportunity that came to light during a recent meeting with a major warehouse club buyer. In answer to a series of open-ended probing questions he felt comfortable enough to share his frustration about not being able to find a specific style of lamp from his current suppliers. We offered to help but when we were also unsuccessful finding a product with the desired style and specs in the USA I attended an international lighting convention in China where I found exactly what he was looking for. As a result we’re currently in the process of setting up an import business to satisfy not only that specific demand but also to offer the new lamp line to other retailers. Additionally our strategy to extend our global reach has led us to two excellent contacts in Latin America, specifically Mexico and Brazil, both of which have agreed to help move products we represent into these countries.
The slow and steady progress route to success is indeed paying dividends as we continue to increase our revenue most months and edge closer and closer to breaking even. In fact we will probably do so sometime before the end of next year. But in order to ensure the business succeeds we’ll need to continue to improve our selling skills, source new products and ideas from CPG suppliers and close more deals with retailers. We are actively looking for new opportunities to accomplish all three objectives.
Watch Out For Retirement Curveballs
by Sheryl Nance-Nash
Sometimes the road ahead is rough. Here’s how to prepare in case it takes a sharp turn
ROBERT JACOBS HAD PLANNED TO RETIRE BY NOW. BUT FOUR YEARS AGO HE WAS laid off from his job as a national account sales manager for a manufacturer of photographic paper, ink, and chemicals. Jacobs didn’t fnd a job right away and briefy worked as a fnancial adviser with Edward Jones Investments before starting a retail sales and marketing consulting company in 2009.
“Now I don’t know when I might actually retire,” says Jacobs, 60, whose business is in Emeryville, California. Jacobs had originally planned to stop working at 63. His goal was to have accumulated $1.7 million in his portfolio. “The bottom line is that for the past four years, instead of contributing to our investment plan, we’ve had to use some of the money to live.”
Although Jacobs’s wife, Josephine, increased her hours at work, the couple still had to dip into investments to pay bills.Jacobs earned $25,000 his frst year in business and $39,000 the second. But much of that money was plowed back into the business and used for living expenses, so retirement took a backseat. Also, the couple has a young child—6-year-old Liam. But college savings is also on hold. “We started putting $200 a month in 2006 into a 529 savings plan, but we had to stop contributing in 2009 shortly afer the layof,” says Jacobs. While he expects to gross about $100,000 this year, he’s playing catch-up. “At a time when I’m supposed to be retiring, I’m building a new business.”
Jacobs is hardly unique. The magic retirement age of 65 has gone the way of the defned beneft pension plan and is now...also delayed retirement and in some cases precluded it....According to the survey, 60% of workers have less than $25,000 in savings (a retirement calculator such as the one at ING.us can help you see if you’re on track). Here are three surprise scenarios and ways that you can successfully work around them.
Retirement Curveball: Unexpected Layoff
A pink slip can disrupt a planned retirement that’s a few years away. Ideally, you have three to six months of living expenses stashed away...Nearly half of Americans (49%) don’t have enough money saved to cover three months of expenses, according to a 2012 Bankrate.com survey.
. Review your fnances. Take a look at your fxed and variable expenses and determine what can be cut.
. Consider health coverage options. Going on your spouse’s policy would likely cost less than purchasing an individual policy. Alternatively, ask about benefts your company may offer those who are being laid off, such as COBRA.
. Contribute to your new retirement plan immediately. Once you separate from your employer, you’ll need to roll over the money in your retirement plan into an IRA. If you opt to withdraw the money and you’re under age 59½, you’ll trigger a 10% penalty and taxes....If you become a consultant or start your own business, set up a plan through a solo 401(k) or SEP IRA, advises Dawn Brown, a certifed financial planner with Altfest Personal Wealth Management in New York.
. Consider entrepreneurship. A layoff can present an opportunity—or the necessity—to start your own business...Brown suggests that you ask yourself: “How will this impact your retirement plans?” For more information about second acts, check out Encore Entrepreneurs, a new resource site of the Small Business Administration and AARP for entrepreneurs 50 and over. “Or you may just decide to work longer if you are happy in your work,” says Brown.
Retirement Curveball: Divorce
Married retirees hope to spend their golden years together, but instead many end up in divorce court. The divorce rate among couples age 50 and over has doubled in the past 20 years, according to research from Bowling Green State University.
. Assemble a fnancial team. Hire a lawyer and a financial adviser to work with you on your settlement. “Receiving retirement accounts as part of a settlement means you have not paid the taxes yet, so the value of the account is not as high as it may seem,” Brown points out. Also, your spouse may be legally entitled to a portion of your retirement account...
Budget for new living arrangements... Homeownership involves paying a mortgage and overhead costs; Do you intend to stay in the area for a while? If so, purchasing a new home may be the better choice, especially in the current low interest rate environment, says Brown.
. Protect your assets long before divorce. A prenuptial agreement is a lifesaver, particularly in a second marriage when more assets may be in play. Breaking up a marriage can wreck your finances, so think proactively.
. Get a handle on expenses and all accounts held...Remove your name from any joint credit cards so you can’t be held responsible for unpaid charges.
. Don’t let emotions put you in the poorhouse. Avoid the mistake of holding on to a house you can’t afford on your own.
Retirement Curveball: An unexpected illness can derail the best-laid plans...
. Buy disability insurance...
. Consider long-term care insurance. This insurance covers the cost of home care, assisted living...but it is expensive and few Americans purchase it. Medicare provides limited coverage for long-term care services such as skilled nursing care or physical therapy, but not custodial care, the type most people need. To make policies less expensive, work with an independent insurance agent... and ask about customizing..features, such as the benefit amount, benefit period, and care options. “For those entering retirement in good health, there are alternatives such as hybrid life insurance policy with long-term care features,” says Crystal Alford-Cooper, a certifed fnancial planner with Strategic Wealth Management Group in Columbia, Maryland. “Generally, the earlier you purchase a policy, the lower your premium.”...
To walk is talk
To repeat is defeet.
Has the fear of the dread foobird
Forbid you do what things that which you want?
Suggests I you soar above thyself
for only the will success come by
And foobirds can't fly!
HOT DOWN! Spring in the City.
Fever Run-in' high girls lookin' so pretty
Got the Getcha in the Air
can't go no where
There's a tall There's a short There's a midriff bare
Hot the sun, number 1 see a long black hair
& There she go, oh no! Terrible.
HOT DOWN! Spring in the city.
PHAMANGU! It's ma friend Sue
Who cometh walking' down yonder path
UUUmmmm boy, I can't wait til she pass
and she wiggle that cute little
flower she always wear in the back of her hair.
Poppa Wheeley & Ms. Behave
have gone their separate ways.
Ms. Behave gave Pop some lip
Poppa lost his grip.
You never write you never call
to you I not must be atall
So love is lost or was it trust
though what it matters love or lust.
Kittlebaum my pretty one
and then to ask me why.
I hope your tush doth plenty dear
And please some by and by.
To some things I admitted
as to others I did not.
You may think disrespect on me
But then, your goose it got!
Well, well my southern bell
And thanks a lot for hot to trot
And may I wish you well.
Did you hear what I just said?
Sure I heard you in my head.
Now am I right or am I wrong?
Yeah you right true to the bone.
And am I weak or am I strong?
Hot as heat and hard as stone!
There was a young lady named Gloria
She and I worked the same storeea.
But her dad got uptight
Plus the ducats weren't right
So she quite and became past historia.
Some do some don't some will some won't.
some can get it on but they can't pull it off.
In a bar w/no buzz
Twas Seattle it wuzz
but not so much deep
as the promise I keep.
While waiting for dinner
(so as not to get thinner).
Where I pictured myself
not a man of great wealth...
Mrs. Kittlebottom and Miss Moon
would surely sing a different tune
If they knew then what she knows now
Or is she tried explaining, just how.....
Your exceptional awareness of the unnecessary and irrelevant is overshadowed solely by your uncommonly shallow and innately inadequate ability to perceive!
The Bahamian band (played) honey sweet and The Silver Bird sang out in delight. But my heart is not in it my soul God defend it Struggles uncommonly uptight.
Still I play for the natives I play for the tourists I play for the ladies of the night. Perhaps it's not right but alas I must leave Forgive me new friends....sudden flight.
Out in night air it's hot and humid there
Paradise, the tropics and like.
Amid champagne colored sky I soar higher do I As my thoughts lead me on through the night.
Amos blows mean saxophone
Just can't seem to kickit.
Go Amos Blow. Blow that horn man.
Just won't allow the riskit
Y’know it wasn’t really that good
I hope you’re not planning to move to the neighborhood.
And as far as your question of when...
Please let’s just not ever do that again!
No. 9 is the first of a three book novel series I recently completed. The story begins in the late 1980’s and over the course of 5 years follows the life of an African-American entertainment artist manager as he travels to Egypt for a vacation with his mixed-race girlfriend, meets a white British lady in Cairo and invites her to visit him in California. These episodes occur while he and his two business partners are negotiating a major record deal for a primarily Asian, female R&B band. The story examines conflicts between group goals versus personal loyalty, between institutional racism and social apathy versus progressive transformation, as well as moral integrity versus the gratification and pain of pleasure. I hope to announce a publishing deal for this project in the not to distant future.
Short story - details coming soon